Riesling Apple Butter Burger with Brie

Riesling Apple Butter Burger with Brie
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About This Recipe

The Riesling Apple Butter Burger with Brie is a dish that captures the essence of Napa Valley's fall season, blending the rustic charm of traditional American cuisine with the sophistication of wine country flavors. This unique burger, combining the sweetness of apples, the rich creaminess of Brie, and the aromatic zest of Riesling, offers a delightful culinary experience that speaks to the heart of Napa's food culture.

Beginning with the selection of ingredients, one can sense the emphasis on quality and local produce. The ground beef, chosen for its ideal lean-to-fat ratio, ensures each patty is juicy and flavorful. The incorporation of Riesling, a wine known for its fruity and floral notes, adds an unexpected yet delightful twist to the burger. As you cook the apples in olive oil, their natural sugars caramelize, and with the addition of Riesling, they transform into a luscious topping that perfectly complements the beef.

Adding to this intricate layering of flavors is the Brie, a cheese celebrated for its creamy texture and mild, nutty flavor. As it melts atop the grilled patties, it envelops the meat in a velvety richness that is both indulgent and comforting. The apple butter, spread on lightly toasted brioche buns, brings a hint of sweetness and spice, tying all the elements together in a symphony of flavors.

Pairing this exquisite burger with the right wine is crucial to elevating the dining experience. A glass of Chateau St. Jean Riesling, a fine example of Sonoma County Riesling, complements the burger with its balanced acidity and fruity undertones. This wine, with its subtle sweetness, mirrors the apple notes in the burger while providing a refreshing contrast to the richness of the Brie.

For those who prefer red wine, the Davis Bynum Pinot Noir, an outstanding representation of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, is an excellent choice. Its light body and notes of red fruit and spices pair beautifully with the savory and sweet elements of the burger, creating a harmonious dining experience.

When considering how to incorporate this burger into a broader menu, think of dishes that complement its rich and autumnal character. A side of roasted root vegetables or a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette would balance the meal perfectly. Serving the Riesling Apple Butter Burger with Brie as part of a casual backyard gathering or a more formal autumn dinner party, it is sure to be a conversation starter, delighting guests with its innovative flavors and Napa Valley charm.

In essence, this burger is not just a meal; it's a celebration of the seasonal bounty and culinary creativity found in Napa Valley. From the first bite to the last sip of wine, it offers a dining experience that is both comforting and luxurious, embodying the spirit of a region where food and wine are artfully intertwined.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Riesling

Riesling, a versatile and aromatic white wine, is the hero ingredient in our Riesling Apple Butter Burger. This grape variety, particularly when sourced from regions like Sonoma County, brings a delightful balance of sweetness and acidity to dishes. In cooking, Riesling complements both sweet and savory flavors, making it an ideal choice for recipes that fuse these taste profiles, such as our apple-enhanced burger. Its fruity undertones enhance the natural sweetness of the apples while providing a subtle contrast to the richness of the Brie, creating a multi-dimensional flavor experience.

How to Perfectly Caramelize Apples

  1. Select the Right Apples: Choose apples that are slightly tart and firm, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, for the best caramelization.
  2. Prep the Apples: Wash, core, and thinly slice the apples to ensure even cooking.
  3. Use the Right Pan: A non-stick skillet or a heavy-bottomed pan works best for even heat distribution.
  4. Cook Slowly: Begin by cooking the apples in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add Riesling: Once the apples start to soften, add Riesling to the pan. This deglazes the pan and adds a layer of flavor.
  6. Watch the Heat: Maintain a consistent medium heat to avoid burning the apples while allowing them to caramelize properly.


  1. Can I use a different type of cheese?
  2. Yes, you can substitute Brie with another soft cheese like Camembert or a mild blue cheese for a different flavor profile.
  3. What if I can't find apple butter?
  4. Apple butter can be replaced with a light spread of fig jam or a thin layer of honey mustard.
  5. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for Riesling?
  6. For a non-alcoholic version, use apple juice or white grape juice as a substitute.
  7. How should leftovers be stored?
  8. Store the components separately. Patties can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan or oven.
  9. Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
  10. Yes, simply use gluten-free brioche buns and ensure that your apple butter and mustard are gluten-free.

Tips for Success

  1. Don't Overmix the Beef: Handle the ground beef gently when forming patties to keep them juicy and tender.
  2. Cheese Placement: Place the Brie on the patties during the last minute of grilling to achieve the perfect melt.
  3. Rest the Burgers: Let the burgers rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more succulent burger.

With these insights, you're all set to create a Riesling Apple Butter Burger that's not only delicious but also resonates with the culinary essence of Napa Valley.

Recipe Overview

Riesling Apple Butter Burger with Brie
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20 blend)
  • 1/2 cup Riesling
  • 2 large apples, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and sliced apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Halfway through, add 1/4 cup Riesling and continue cooking.
  2. Mix ground beef with Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Form into 4 equal-sized patties.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the burger patties to your preferred doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  4. In the last minute of grilling, add a slice of Brie cheese to each patty and close the grill lid to melt the cheese.
  5. Spread apple butter on the insides of the buns, then toast them on the grill for about 1 minute, until lightly golden.
  6. Assemble the burgers by placing arugula on the bottom bun, followed by the grilled patty with Brie, and top with caramelized apples. Cover with the top bun.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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